Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/339

This page needs to be proofread.




subsequent hard timps are clearly recorded in the attenuated immigration to this country in 190S; whereas in 1907 it had received nearly a million and a quarter, in 1908 and 1909 the figures amounted to only three quarters of a million.

Among the motives other than economic which prompt emigration is the desire to escape military service. This has been especially operative in such military countries as Germany. This cause is much more powerful during, or just after, a war. In 1872- 73 there were 10,000 processes for desertion on this account alone and in great part due to emigration. Again migration because of religious persecution has been historically of great importance. In past cen- turies thousands went from the Continent to England, from Ireland and England to the Continent and to the New World, that they might enjoy freedom of worship. In recent years these influences have been most power- ful in Russia and Turkey, whence persecutions af- fecting the Jews and the Greek Christians have sent large numbers of refugees, especially of the former class, to the United States. Another, difficult to measure, but of great influence, is the solicitation of relatives and friends. Once in the new country, in many instances relatives plan to bring those left be- hind, secure places for them, aid them in coming, and in general form a centre of attraction in the new land, drawing powerfully on those beyond the sea. Along with this is the fear, periodically recurring with the agitation for restriction, that further immigration may be cut off, and at such times considerable increase is seen. This was particularly noticeable before the American legislation of 1903.

A phase of this subject which cannot be overlooked and which is of increasing importance in the United States is the commercial. On the one hand is an em- ploying class, eager for cheap foreign labour; on the other hand are various agencies whose business is the transportation of goods and people. As the main profits of, say, the steamship companies come from the immigrants who travel in the steerage, the reason- ing is clear to the line of action which they follow. Everywhere, in lands where migration originates, is the uljiquitous immigration agent. His business is to in- duce people to migrate. Exaggerated reports, some- times amounting to actual misrepresentation, are too often resorted to. On this legislation has had its im- portant bearing. The greatest influence exerted by the employing class is by means of contract labour. At first generally desirable, when labour was scarce, this has since tecome most unpopular, and through law and adverse popular opinion is now of compara- tively little importance.

ImiMigr.a.tion to the United St,\tes. — The many varied problems of mmigration are best illustrated by its history in the United States. Perhaps no more composite nation has existed since the Roman Empire engulfed the various nationalities of Western Europe. At a very early period in the history of the American Colonies, the Negro was introduced — a race so remote, anthropologically, from the first colonists as to be impossible of as.similation. The American Indians, isolated from the first, have ever since been tending to extinction, and hence need not be considered as a possiljility in the 'problem of na- tional and social composition. As time pas.sed, other faces came to still further complicate the prob- lem. Be.sides these distinct racial elements must be reckoned an infinite number and variety of nationali- ties marked by lesser differences and capable of assimi- lation.

The settlers of the orijiinal Tliirtoen Colonies, while fairly homogeneous, yit pnsciitcil some diversity. There were English, at first the iloininant element, Irish, and Scoteli, and persons of nii.xed British origin. There were a gooilly number of (Jermans in Pennsyl- vania and renmants of the Dutch settlement in New

York and New Jensey. A few Swedes had come to Delaware and a sprinkling of Finns. The French were represented by the Huguenots in Georgia and in the Carolinas. It has been estimated that the popula- tion of one million in 1750 had developed from an original migration of 80,000. Additional racial modi- fication resulted from the annexation of new terri- tories of alien population. In 1S03, by the treaty with France, Louisiana was added, with some acces- sion of population and a considerable effect upon the customs and ideas of the nation as a whole. Tliis ad- dition was chiefly French, though a few Spaniards were included. The acquisition of Florida in 1821 brought a few Spaniards, although their influence is negligible. The enlargement westward, from 1S45, when Texas was admitted, till 1848, when the Mexican Treaty added an extensive cession, brought a number of Spaniards, Mexicans, and half-breeds. Following upon the Spanish War of 1S98, which resulted in an accession of nearly 8,000,000 of alien, mainly Far- Eastern, races, the extension of American dominion into the Pacific has vastly complicated the problem of nationalization, at the same time rendering more diffi- cult the control of immigration from the Orient.

The beginning of migration to the English Colonies in America was the Jamestown settlement of 1607. In New England the first real migration of any extent ■was the company that reached Salem, Massachusetts, under John Endicott in 1628. Figures on the subse- quent arrivals, while not certainly accurate, are never- theless very interesting. The diversity of religion was not so marked, though there was some variation. The early German immigrants were mostly Protes- tants. Maryland was settled by Catholics. Into the South drifted a large number of Huguenots. In New England there was a strong Separatist element. The formation of the State of Pennsylvania by Quakers gave them a stronghold in that commonwealth.

The beginning of immigration into the United States (i. e. of post-Revolution immigration) dates from 1789. Before that time it is more proper to speak of colonists than of immigrants. Statistics as to the aliens coming to, or returning from, the United States are inaccurate and incomplete from 1789 till 1820. Not only are the absolute figures unsatisfac- tory, but no distinction was made between newcomers and returning Americans; nor was any attention paid to the returning immigrant. Roughly speaking, about 2.50,000 inunigrants landed here from 1789 to 1820. From the meagre figures recorded any analysis is imperfect. The dominant elements were English, Scotch, and Irish. There came to the I'nitptl States as immigrants, from 1820 to 1910, a grand total of more than 28,000,000. The numbers by decades were as follows : — •

1821-1830 143,439

1831-1840 599,125

1841-1850 1,713,251

1851-1860 2,598,214

1861-1870 2,314,824

1871-1880 2,812,191

1881-1890 5,246,613

1891-1900 3,682,864

1901-1910 8,938,470

The figures given for the last decade are, of course, partly conjectural. The statistics recently issued for the year ending 30 June, 1910, giveatotal of 1,041,570 immigrants to the United States for that year: 736,- 038 males, 305,532 females. These included 192,673 Italians; 128,348 Poles; 84,260 Jews; 71,380 Ger- mans; r):!,49S English. These are the largest num- bers of ininii^raiits known for aiiv year so far, except the years 1907 (1,2X5, 349) ami iVlOO (1,100,735). It will be .seen, too. that the last .l(c;ide shows a very large number of inunigr.'ints as (Muilnisti'd with any'previ- ous decade. These figures are only absolute. It is in